Low-Dose Aspirin May Protect Against Ovarian Cancer: Study

Regular use of low-dose aspirin may the reduce risk of ovarian cancer, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 205,000 American women and found that those who reported recent, regular use of low-dose aspirin (defined as 100 milligrams or less) had a 23 percent lower risk of developing ovarian cancer than those who did not regularly take aspirin.

The risk did not fall the longer women used low-dose aspirin.

Also, the study didn’t prove that aspirin lowered cancer risk, just that there was an association. And taking standard-dose aspirin (325 milligrams) was not associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer.

On the flip side, taking 10 or more tablets per week of non-aspirin NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, for a number of years may be associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, the study authors said.

“What really differentiated this study from prior work was that we were able to analyze low-dose aspirin separately from standard-dose aspirin,” said study leader Mollie Barnard, who conducted the research while a doctoral student at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“Our findings emphasize that research on aspirin use and cancer risk must consider aspirin dose,” she added in a Harvard news release.

Barnard is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women. There’s growing evidence that inflammation plays a role in the development of this cancer. It’s believed that aspirin may lower ovarian cancer risk by reducing inflammation.

“More research is needed to figure out which women can benefit most from taking low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of ovarian cancer,” study senior author Shelley Tworoger, associate center director of population science at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., said in the news release. Moffitt scientists were involved in the study.

Source: HealthDay


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What Every Woman Needs to Know About Ovarian Cancer

Women need to know the symptoms of ovarian cancer and see a doctor if they have them, an ob-gyn expert says.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death in American women, claiming more lives than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society.

About 22,240 women in the United States will be diagnosed with the disease in 2018, and over 14,000 will die from it, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

“Any woman who experiences unexplained bloating, an upset stomach, an urgency to urinate or abdominal pain for a few weeks, should go see a doctor, and if her doctor does not take these symptoms seriously, she should see another doctor,” said Dr. Stephanie Blank. She is director of gynecologic oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City.

Other symptoms include pelvic pain, fatigue, unexplained weight change, and abnormal bleeding or any bleeding after menopause.

“Too often, women are sent to the wrong doctor, or [are] told they’re just aging or gaining weight when experiencing these kinds of symptoms, and by then they have lost valuable time,” Blank said in a Mount Sinai news release.

Women who are diagnosed with ovarian cancer before it has spread have a five-year survival of 93 percent, researchers have found. But detection of ovarian cancer is difficult and often delayed.

Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations are at increased risk for ovarian cancer, and the risk for all women increases with age. Half of all ovarian cancers are diagnosed in women who are 63 and older.

Long-term use of birth control pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by about 50 percent, according to the news release. Removing fallopian tubes and ovaries is the best means of ovarian cancer prevention, but is not appropriate for all women.

Source: HealthDay

Opinion: Most Women Should Forgo Ovarian Cancer Screening

The potential harms of ovarian cancer screening outweigh the benefits, so only very specific groups of women should be screened for the disease, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says in a draft recommendation.

“The task force found that screening women without signs or symptoms for ovarian cancer does not decrease the number of deaths from the disease, and may lead to unnecessary surgeries,” Dr. Maureen Phipps said in a news release from the USPSTF.

“Therefore, the task force recommends against screening for ovarian cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms, and who are not at high risk for ovarian cancer,” she said. Phipps is a member of the task force, which is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine.

The new guidance reaffirms a 2012 final recommendation made by the USPSTF.

Task force chair Dr. David Grossman said that “the current screening tests do not do a good job identifying whether a woman does or does not have ovarian cancer.”

The USPSTF “hopes that, in the future, better screening tests for ovarian cancer will be developed,” he added.

The draft recommendation statement and draft evidence review are posted for public comment on the task force website. Comments can be submitted from July 18 through Aug. 14.

Ovarian cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women in the United States, the USPSTF said.

Current screening tests for ovarian cancer aren’t very accurate, and may indicate a woman has ovarian cancer when she doesn’t, according to the task force. These false-positive tests can lead to unnecessary major surgery to remove one or both ovaries, the panel members said.

The USPSTF noted that no other major medical organization recommends screening for ovarian cancer among women in the general population.

Source: HealthDay


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